1. They don’t need it.
Our kids are smart. They pick up on the message we unwittingly teach. If church is simply a place to learn life-application principles to achieve a better life in community…you don’t need a crucified Jesus for that.
Why would kids get up early on a Sunday and watch a cheap knockoff of the entertainment venue they went to the night before? The middle-aged pastor trying desperately to be “relevant” to them would be a comical cliché if the effect weren’t so devastating.
As we jettisoned the gospel, we never presented students with the full impact of the law, their sin before God, and their desperate need for Christ’s atoning work. Now that is relevant, that is authentic, and that is something the world can’t offer.
We’ve traded a historic, objective, faithful gospel based on God’s graciousness toward us for a modern, subjective, pragmatic gospel based on achieving our goal by following life strategies. Rather than being faithful to the foolish simplicity of the gospel of the cross, we’ve set the goal of being “successful” among growing crowds with this gospel of glory.
Why youth leave the church is because we’ve failed to deliver to them the faith “delivered once for all” to the church.
I’m not against entertaining kids, or even Jumbotrons or pizza parties (though I probably am against middle-aged guys trying to wear skinny jeans). It’s just that the one thing, the main thing that Jesus has tasked us with? We’re failing. We’ve failed God, and we’ve failed our kids.
Don’t let more children walk out the door without confronting them with the full weight of the law and the full freedom of the gospel.
Now that you know why youth leave the church, go do something about it.